Suicide By The Stars:
The late rock star and icon Kurt Cobain once wrong a song with some of the lyrics saying – suicide is painless.
Needless to say he wrote those lyrics with great irony.
Suicide is anything but painless – it is horrific on so many different levels.
And it was a foreshadowing of what was to come – he later committed suicide.
And with the deaths of two major celebrities last week by suicide – Kate Spade the renowned fashion designer and a few days later that of Anthony Bourdain, an acclaimed and celebrated chef and television host – suicide once again was front and centre.
And the response to these tragic events is inevitably the same by the world, the press and people who were close to them – shock, disbelief , sadness, anger.
And after a few days the shock has worn off.
The anger has dissipated.
The sadness slowly ebbs away and the anger has become acceptance.
But the problem remains the same.
And the problem is getting bigger and bigger.
And the statistics on suicide are years old with no solid information of what is happening now or has happened last year.
But here are the shocking older stats.
- In 2009 there were 3,890 suicides in Canada, a rate of 11.5 per 100,000 people.
- The suicide rate for males was three times higher than the rate for females (17.9 versus 5.3 per 100,000).
- Although suicide deaths affect almost all age groups, those aged 40 to 59 had the highest rates.
- Married people had a lower suicide rate than those who were single, divorced or widowed.
- Suicide is a major cause of premature and preventable death. It is estimated, that in 2009 alone, there were about 100,000 years of potential life lost to Canadians under the age of 75 as a result of suicides.
- In The U.S. the stats are much more up to date. They indicate the rates of suicides have been increasing for years in every state and for every demographic.
So we know that governments aren’t doing enough.
But what about all of us? Can we do something?
The answer is yes and it involves doing a few simple things.
And there is one more thing – the role of the media.
It has to change.
Right now it reports these tragic events, followed by endless comments from various people saying how terrible that is.
Not good enough. The media need to provide context of why it happened and what can be done to prevent suicide.